The beautification of the City of Joy continues in full swing. The pleasant changes that are dotting the cityscape are giving Kolkata a fresh modern look. It began a couple of years back when the banks of the Hooghly within the city limits was decided to be beautified. The placing of trident lights all over the city was another of the beautification plans which fructified over the last two years.
Among the areas to benefit from the government’s beautification efforts is Lal Dighi. This lake in the heritage zone of Dalhousie (BBD Bag) is located bang opposite Writers’ Buildings. As soon as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee came to power, the not-so-well-off condition of the area around the lake caught her eye. She immediately set in motion plans to renovate the lake and the surrounding area. The preparations are almost over, and the new look is to be inaugurated within a month.
Lal Dighi in olden days
• The renovation has been partly funded under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)
• The central and state governments are contributing 35% each of the cost of innovation
• Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is contributing the rest 30% of the cost
Lal Dighi with Writers' Building in the background
Development by phases
The project was developed in phases. In fact, a three-face development plan was envisaged for the Lal Dighi project.
• First phase: Rs 13 crore spent, and completed by July 2013
• Second phase: Rs 3 crore 16 lakh
• Third phase: Rs 3 crore 85 lakh
Beautifying Lal Dighi
• In the first phase of development, the pavements in the Dalhousie area were tiled and road dividers placed.
• In the second phase, fountains were placed in the middle of Lal Dighi.
• There are seven fountains placed on seven boats anchored in the middle of the lake, with the one in the middle throwing water up to a height of 40 feet.
• These fountains cost a little over Rs 1 crore
• Twelve three-seater benches surround the lake, making for a pleasant way to pass some leisure time
• The railings have been coloured in soothing hues of blue and white
• The pavements around the lake have been beautifully tiled
The state public works department, which is in charge of maintaining the lake and its surroundings, had permitted people to fish in the lake. With the area being beautified, the anglers have been given a particular area from which they would have to fish.
Further, the area around the trunks of about 170 trees would be paved to act as seats, and flowering shrubs would be placed beside the trees.
More on the way
Besides Lal Dighi, the other lakes like Rabindra Sarovar, Subhash Sarovar, etc. are also being renovated. Besides, the beautification of around 100 parks in the KMC areas is almost over. KMC’s parks and squares department has adopted the policy of ‘Green Kolkata, Clean Kolkata’, and the results are there for all to see.